Autie and the Prince

Pelham visits the bawdyhouse in Gotham:

Pelham’s panic rose as they climbed the staircase, the clamor of his companions’ boots demonstrating their resolute maleness. If only he, too, were a normal man rather than a centaur.

Upon reaching the upstairs hallway, the cadets were ushered through doorways, one by one, until Pelham was alone with the last girl, her undeniable prettiness momentarily exposed in the lamp light. Not much taller than Pelham’s shoulder, she pushed the nearest door open with a gritty squeak and pulled him inside a shabby little room with sunlight glaring through the dirty window. A rather hastily-made four-post bed that drooped in the center like a swayback horse with some dingy pillows on top almost filled the room.

“What’s your name?” Pelham asked, immediately feeling like a simpleton.

“Genevieve,” she replied, not giving a hint of a smile.

Why was it that all whores had French names, even if they sounded like they just got off the boat from Ireland? Pelham smiled as best he could. “Mine’s John,” he said, realizing that his name sounded no less fake.

Genevieve stepped past her rickety-looking dressing table and drew the chintz curtain. “Well, Sweetie,” she said, turning around and giving him a look up and down, “Go ahead and get yourself undressed.”

Pelham took off his jacket and hung it over the only thing in the room that offered itself, a straight-backed wooden chair that reminded him of those in Mammy’s kitchen. He unbuttoned his shirt, but hesitated to remove his trousers without warning her of what was coming. “I don’t know if this is going to be possible,” he said.

Genevieve came towards him and took his hand. “You don’t have to be frightened, Sweetie,” she said. “There’s a first time for everything.”

Pelham shook his head and sighed. “You don’t understand,” he said in the most gentlemanly fashion he could muster. “You need to know . . . I have a very large . . . organ. The surgeon at West Point said I have the largest one he’s ever seen.”

“You’re a silly,” she said with a peculiar sweetness, seemingly not considering the possibility that he was telling the truth, that his words were anything more than nonsensical braggadocio. “But you’re a feast for the eyes, you are; I don’t get many that look anything like you.”

“These aren’t just a pair of ill-fitting trousers,” he said, putting his hand down to the hard mass of flesh between his legs. “That’s me. I have to wear a special harness just to hold it.”

Genevieve looked at him with trepidation, perhaps beginning to understand that he wasn’t joshing her.

“I wanted you to be prepared,” he said. “And I’ll understand if I need to pay more.”

She rolled her eyes as if to say she had finally heard it all.

As Pelham removed his shirt he saw his perfect torso in the small mirror on the dressing table, but he knew he must unbutton his trousers and reveal his true self.

“You’re a vain thing,” she said, catching him admiring his reflection.

He smiled, kindly; after all, the poor girl had no way of knowing he was a centaur rather than a man. And she smiled in return, as if soothed by his boyish handsomeness.

But when she saw the harness, her expression changed to wide-eyed fear.

Pelham had long-since learned how to undo the harness straps, but with this strange girl staring at him, he fumbled repeatedly. “I’m afraid this is a bit awkward,” he said, both hands struggling behind his back.

The harness finally fell to the floor and the enormous organ flopped down in full view.

A look of terror registered on Genevieve’s face that reminded him of Aryanna’s expression when he had attacked her in the barn. “Oh, sweetie,” she said. “What did God do to you? You poor, poor thing.”

“Like I said, ma’am, the surgeon said it was the biggest one he’d ever seen.”

“Biggest one?” she burst out. “That thing belongs on a horse!”

Pelham didn’t mind being compared to a horse—after all, he was a centaur—but her look of disgust, maybe even terror, made it clear she wasn’t even going to let him try to enter her. “I’d be very gentle,” he said innocently, unable to get his unconsummated violation out of his mind.

“Gentle?” She broke into a shriek of laughter, almost turning in a full circle as she shook her head. “That can’t fuck gentle,” she spewed out. “That thing can’t fuck at all!”

She ran past him and out the door. “You’ve all got to see this,” she hollered hysterically down the hallway.

Pelham stood there with his harness down around his ankles, not knowing what to do. His greatest fear was that Autie and Rosser, no doubt preoccupied as they were, had heard her cries, irrefutable confirmation that he was a freak incapable of sexual relations with a woman; surely he’d be the laughing stock of the whole Corps.

Pelham had just pulled the harness up into place when Genevieve came back with at least half a dozen girls, no doubt all of the staff that wasn’t otherwise engaged at that moment. He fumbled and dropped the harness, once again revealing himself.

“Look at it!” Genevieve cried out. “Did you ever see anything like it?”

“It really is just like a horse,” one of the other girls said, quite factually.

The girls laughed unmercifully as Pelham struggled to secure the harness. If only Autie and Rosser weren’t there to hear it. And he could just imagine his brothers laughing at him, rejoicing at his humiliation. Why had he let himself be made into a fool!

As soon as he finished dressing he pushed his way through the girls and hurried down the hallway. Inside each door he could hear crude love-making sounds; how simple life was for those who could penetrate the female body and earn acceptance within the Pantheon of men. He had always assumed that professional girls might be more tolerant of his affliction, but such had proven not to be the case. If he ever visited another bawdyhouse as long as he lived, it would be too soon.

Pelham rushed downstairs, past Madame’s menacing henchman and out into the midday sun. He was almost to the corner before he sat down on a little stoop to gather his thoughts. All he could see up and down the street were lines of men waiting to engage in the sex act. Passersby seemed to stare at him as though news of his humiliation had already spread throughout the city.

It had always been his plan to serve on the frontier when he graduated, but now he wondered how he would make it through his final year at the Point. Surely news of his humiliation, the confirmation that he was a freak incapable of performing the sex act, would spread throughout the Corps; maybe Rosser would be discreet, but Autie holding his tongue all but defied the laws of physics. Still, having survived his initiation on the plain, it would be a shame not to graduate after all those years of hard work.